Military's top spy assigned to crush NPA stronghold
MANILA, Philippines – The military's top spy is moving to Mindanao to head a command in charge of one of the remaining strongholds of the communist New People's Army (NPA).
Major General Eduardo Año, chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), will be installed as commander of the 10th Infantry Division based in Davao City, according to Army chief Lieutenant General Hernando Iriberri.
Año is replacing Major General Ariel Bernardo who is reaching the retirement age of 56. The turnover ceremony will be held on Friday, July 25.
The 10th ID area of operations include Davao region, Compostela Valley, and parts of North Cotabato which have seen encounters between the military and the communist rebels.
Iriberri has big expectations from Año, his classmate in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1983.
"I expect him to perform outstandingly.... He knows the security situation on the ground. I expect him to hit the ground running. He knows the security situation. With his sterling record in the 201st Brigade, I'm sure he wil be bringing with him his style of leadership and his experience in ISAFP," Iriberri said.
Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), where the 10th ID belongs, is considered the remaining stronghold of the NPA. Military estimates put the NPA strength in the Eastmincom area at about 2,000 members.
There are about a thousand in the 10th ID area and another thousand in the area of 4th Infantry Division under Major General Ricardo Visaya, according to AFP spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala.
As ISAFP chief, Año was part of the group that oversaw operations in the March 2014 arrest of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) chief Benito Tiamzon and wife Wilma.
The military has bragged that the arrest weakened the communist movement.
Año previously gained notoriety, however, when he was tagged in the disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos. Edita Burgos, the mother of Jonas, tried but failed to persuade the Commission on Appointments to block his promotion in the military.
He was intelligence chief of the Army when Burgos disappeared. – Rappler.com